BPC Winners Receive $25,000
04.18.2011 Master of Business Administration student Anthony Shop, alumnus David Raffel, BA '76, Daniel Zaslavsky, and Thomas Sanchez beat out a record 112 teams to win the 2011 GW Business Plan Competition. Their idea, Lead Driver, allows car dealers to provide brochures tailored to customer preferences.
The GW Business Plan Competition finals in April was a two-day culmination of a yearlong series of educational events and mentorship for teams of GW students, faculty members, and alumni. The event is funded by entrepreneurs Florida Gov. Richard Scott and his wife, Annette, whose daughter Allison Guimard, BBA '05, is also an entrepreneur. Additional sponsors this year included Blank Rome, iStrategyLabs, and Tech Cocktail. This year's participants received guidance from mentors and weekly workshops, which trained participants on how to conduct market research, make financial projections, and give oral presentations.
Lead Driver is already in use at five dealerships in Kansas City, Mo. The web-based software, DealerPrints, creates brochures that are made specifically for the dealership, the car, and the customer. A dealership's sales staff enters unique information about the customers and their needs and generates a personalized brochure for them to shorten the sale cycle.
"This win is a great boost of confidence for us," Mr. Shop says. The team will use the funding to implement Lead Driver in 24 dealerships in Kansas City and Chicago.
"The judges were very impressed that Lead Driver is a product that's up and running today in multiple car dealerships and also that it was a multidisciplinary team," Business Plan Director John Rollins says. "That kind of balance makes a big difference when you're starting a business."
The company prevailed during four rounds of competition that included developing an executive summary and business plan, as well as two rounds of oral presentations in front of a panel of entrepreneurs and venture capital investors, including alumni and friends of GW. One of this year's judges, Edward R. Barrientos, MBA '90, CEO and chairman of the board of Brazen Careerist, received GW's 2011 Annual Entrepreneurship Award.
The three runner-up teams—Bookstore Genie, Leafworks, and Ascend Air—received $10,000, $4,000, and $1,000, respectively. GW junior Farhan Daredia of Bookstore Genie, a company that sells textbooks online at the cheapest price, also won $10,000 for best undergraduate plan. Leafworks sells disposable dinnerware made of leaves and offers sustainable tips. Ascend Air is a skyship that helps executives in Virginia avoid traffic during their commute.